Archive for the ‘nationbuilding’ Category

Dr Mavis Puthucheary is correct…

February 15, 2007
Academician Dr Mavis Puthucheary of UKM has correctly pointed out that the biggest stumbling block for electoral reform in this country is Baraisan Nasional.BN will cling on to its unfair advantage as long as they could in order to rule Malaysia “forever”.The best way forward is change the government. But that’s only possible if the people rally their support behind the opposition parties in this country. All Malaysians must realise by now that our common enemy is Umno. If Umno continues to call the shot , all of us will be in trouble.

DAP Bukit Mertajam MP Chong Eng has rightly pointed out that one cannot wait until the opposition parties were as strong as the opposition parties lin the US or European countries before they could lend their support to the opposition. One must understand that the growth of the  opposition parties were constantly being suppressed by the  dictatorial BN regime.

BN ‘biggest obstacle’ to electoral reform

Beh Lih Yi- Malaysiakini
Feb 14, 07 3:29pm
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exclusive The deadlock over electoral reform lies in Parliament being “controlled by a (coalition) that does not see the need” for change, said academician Dr Mavis Puthucheary.Mavis, who had led a two-year research project from 2001 on the election system, told malaysiakini that the Barisan Nasional (BN) would only support the concept of independent oversight of free and fair elections “when there is no serious challenge to the regime”.The BN dominates Parliament after winning 92 percent of the seats in the 2004 general election.

“Some would say that it is unlikely that the government would accede to this request especially as it does not see any need to make changes which will secure them victory at the polls,” she said.

“But this is a very short-sighted view which political leaders, both in the ruling party and in the opposition, as well members of the public must try to change.”

Mavis is senior associate fellow of the Institute of Malaysian and International Studies (Ikmas), which operates under public university Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

In its findings published in 2003, the research team had warned of the need for reform before the government loses its legitimacy.

It also proposed wide-ranging reform of the EC, electoral system and the role of the media and civil society in ensuring free and fair elections.

The findings were compiled in a book entitled ‘Elections and Democracy in Malaysia’, while the recommendations were submitted to the relevant authorities.
Asked what feedback had been obtained from the authorities since then, Mavis said: “Nothing much”.

Last month, Election Commission (EC) chief Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman had conceded that election laws are outdated and warranted review by an independent commission.

Numerous calls had previously been made by civil society activists and opposition parties, but have gone unheeded by the BN government.

‘Keep up pressure’

Mavis reiterated the call to establish a commission of inquiry to review election laws and the electoral system, with urgent attention to the way electoral boundaries are drawn up and on the size of constituencies.

Asked to comment on the opposition boycott of the recently-concluded Batu Talam by-election, she said she disagreed with the decision. She was also generally critical of the use of boycotts, saying this could lead to political instability.

However, she said the opposition move provided an opportunity to revisit the need for electoral reform and for the government to act before the “situation gets out of hand”.

In this respect, Mavis also lashed out at the EC for shirking its responsibility to communicate with the voters over records of registration, and for leaving this to political parties.

She said the commission, even if its hands are tied, can still do more to press for change.

“We feel that the EC can and should publish its own recommendations to Parliament rather than work together with the government to produce one report – we would not be able to determine whether this is EC’s report or EC’s report with input from the government,” she said.

Mavis also said there is a need for the public to keep up pressure on the government because voters too have a stake in ensuring free and fair elections.

“We need to keep on convincing those in power to realise that in a democracy, political legitimacy is derived not just from the holding of elections, but from public confidence in the fairness of the elections.” she added.

Q&A: Election boycotts ‘very damaging’

Free Trade Agreement:We need your time and action on 3 Jan 2007.

December 28, 2006

 The NGOs in Malaysia were very busy and often bogged down by too many burning issues at hands thanks to weak leadership of this man on the left. We were forced to spend our limited resources, energy and time on campaigning against numerous Umno-led Barisan Nasional government policies and privatisation projects concerning the rights and wellbeing of the rakyat…incinerator in water catchment area, illegal high-tension transmission towers in residental areas, unequal treatment of mother-tongue education, press freedom, freedom of religion, judiciary and police reforms, privatisation (read price increase) of water, healthcare, tolls, fuels…and now FTAs.

On the surface, bilateral FTAs are fair and square to the two nations committed to the agreement. Both countries can buy and sell whatever products and services between them on the same set of rules and conditions. It’s a level playing field so to speak. But the problem lies in the unequal strength of the two countries. Just like a 5 footer with a body weight of 60 kg has to fight with a 6 footer of150kg in the boxing ring. Yes, they both have to compete under the same set of rules and conditions. But even a child can tell you that such a fight is lopsided and unfair to the weaker opponent.

In theory, Malaysia can sell our computers and sofwares to the Americans. The Amricans , like wise, can sell their computers and softwares to Malaysians. But what kind of computers and softwares we could offer to the consumers in America? If we allow government procurement to be free up, is there a Malaysian company that can compete with the US giants, whether in the US or back home?

The minute we enter FTA with America, Malaysians would not be allowed to buy generic drugs anymore.Can our patients here afford to buy the patented drugs which were much more expensive?

Many countries  have suffered badly after entering FTA with US. Mexico, Australia, Latin America and Singapore, just to name a few. For instance, some 2 million farmers in Mexico lost their jobs because they could not compete with the American farmers.

So, we need AAB to gives us a report on the pros and cons of entering FTA with America. Malaysians have a right to know how much we will gain and how much we will lose if we sign the FTA. We will then decide whether we should support or reject the FTAs. That’s in the interest of all Malaysians and the Umnio-led BN Government has no right to keep us in the dark before signing the FTA with America.

The AAB administration must be condemed for signing a lopsided FTA with Japan quietly without consultation with the rakyat and the Parliamentarians. They now wanted to rush into agreement with the US, again without consultation with the rakyat and the Parliamentarians. Minister Rafidah Aziz has not bothered to respond to the coalition of NGOs despite of numerous requests for meeting and dialogue.

Here’s a campaign which need your participation. Your participation will certainly make a difference.

GABUNGAN RAKYAT MEMBANTAH FTA US-MALAYSIA

www.jerit.org  

Dear Friends of NGO, Community Organizations and Concerned Individuals The Malaysia -US Free Trade Agreement talks  is proceeding to the 4th round of negotiations, which will take place from the 8th -12 January 2007 in San Francisco US.

Despite numerous letters and memorandums sent on our concerns, the government has not addressed our concerns. The government is just pushing through the talks very fast without getting feedback from the civil society, unions, NGOs, parliament members and the people of Malaysia.

In this process, the Malaysian citizens or the parliament are not aware what is being negotiated and what we are trading off. We are not even sure whether they have done their cost and benefit analysis as they claim to have done and what is the outcome.

If the FTA is signed next year, Malaysians are going to face more economic problems, increase in medicine prices, job losses, local industry unable to compete with US companies and the list goes on. (To know more: www.ftamalaysia.org)  

Thus in order to intensify our campaign and also to pressure the government to stop and listen to us, a NATIONWIDE FAXING CAMPAIGN is being planned on the 3rd of January, 2007 

The Coalition Against FTA is urging all NGOs, community organizations and concerned citizens to fax in their protest letters against the Malaysia-US FTA on the  3rd January 2007 to the Prime Minister’s office and Dato’ Rafidah’s office. Fax in as many protest letters as you can, if possible please get each member of your organization to fax in the protest letter to the PM’s office and Dato’ Rafidah’s office. A sample letter has been included for your reference.  

Details of the campaign:  Date: 3rd January 2007 Time: 8am-5pm  

We in the coalition hope that you will give full support for this campaign.

Let’s JOIN FORCES TO OPPOSE THE MALAYSIA-US FTA which is going to TRADE AWAY OUR LIVES AND RIGHTS.   If you have further inquiries please call Kohila: 0192275982. Please mail us a copy of yr protest letter to jerit2002@gmail.com  Thank you.  

Kohila

Gabungan Rakyat Membantah FTA US-Malaysia     

Sample letter of protest  

Letter Head Organisasi 

Y.A.B. Dato’ Seri Abdullah bin Haji Ahmad Badawi        

Perdana Menteri Malaysia                                      

Pejabat Perdana Menteri,                                        

 Blok Utama, Bangunan Perdana Putra,                             

 Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan,                       

62502 Putrajaya                                                        

No Faks: 03-8888 3444                                                        

Y.B. Dato’ Seri Rafidah binti Abd. Aziz

Menteri Perdagangan Antarabangsa & IndustriKementerian Perdagangan Antarabangsa

Tingkat 14, Blok 10Kompleks Pejabat Kerajaan, Jalan Duta,50622 Kuala LumpurNo Faks: 03-6201 2301 

HENTIKAN RUNDINGAN US-MALAYSIA FTA DENGAN SEGERA  

Kami/Saya _______________ dari _________________________ ingin menyuarakan bantahan   kami terhadap tindakan Kementerian Perdagangan   Antarabangsa dan Industri yang akan meneruskan rundingan Perjanjian Perdagangan Bebas , Amerika Syarikat – Malaysia( US-Malaysia Free Trade Agreement) yang akan berlangsung pada 8hb Januari hingga 12hb.Januari ,2007,  di San Francisco, US.  Pada 8 Mac, 2006, Kerajaan Malaysia dan Amerika Syarikat mengumumkan niat untuk memulakan rundingan perjanjian perdagangan bebas dua hala (FTA)..

Kami berpendapat rundingan ini dijalankan secara  gesa-gesa demi menyelesaikan rundingan secepat mungkin, untuk mengambil kesempatan “fast track authority” Presiden US yang akan berakhir pada pertengahan 2007.   Kami menyedari bahawa skop rundingan meliputi banyak sektor yang amat penting kepada rakyat Malaysia yang boleh memberikan kesan terhadap pekerjaan dan jaminan keselamatan makanan, akses terhadap ubatan yang lebih murah, ketahanan industri domestik dan penyedia perkhidmatan, daya maju firma dan ladang kecil dan seterusnya kedaulatan negara.   Kami amat terkejut apabila mendapati bahawa rundingan penting seperti ini dijalankan dalam keadaan paling tidak demokratik dan tidak telus. Tidak terdapat penelitian Parlimen terhadap apa yang dipersetujui, walaupun dasar dan undang-undang sedia ada ditukar atau diubah suai untuk memenuhi kehendak Amerika Syarikat. Begitu juga tidak terdapat ruang untuk penyertaan atau maklum balas awam dalam proses ini walaupun kehidupan rakyat biasa akan terjejas. Ini juga bertentangan dengan komitmen kerajaan pada masa ini untuk ketelusan dan akauntabiliti. 

Kami juga menyedari bahawa terdapat bantahan di seluruh dunia berhubung dengan FTA Amerika Syarikat sepertimana yang dialami oleh negara-negara di Amerika Latin dan yang terbaru adalah di Thailand. Kami juga tahu bahawa dalam FTA yang telah dipersetujui dengan Amerika Syarikat, komitmen oleh negara membangun telah melangkaui kewajipan dalam WTO. Ini amat tidak adil dan tidak wajar.  

Maka kami menuntut supaya :  

1.       Kerajaan Malaysia harus membuat Penilaian Kos- Faedah Komprehensif Malaysia –US FTA ini dari semua aspek dan hasil kajiannya   harus diumumkan kepada rakyat  Malaysia.

2.       Minit    Perundingan Dan Isu Perbincangan Diantara Amerika  Dan Malaysia  Dalam Perjanjian Ini Mestilah Diumumkan kepada Rakyat Malaysia .

3.       Suatu Mekanisma Maklumbalas Dan Komen diwujudkan untuk membolehkan Rakyat Biasa Menyuarakan Kepentingan Dan Kebimbangan Mereka   Mengenai   Implikasi  Us-Malaysia FTA

4.       Perbincangan Yang Lebih Telus Dan  Direpresentasi Oleh Pelbagai  Pertubuhan Rakyat  , Badan  Bukan    Kerajaan , Pertubuhan Hak Asasi , Suhakam , Parti Politik , Kesatuan Pekerja  Mesti Diadakan  Dengan    Segera Untuk Menerangkan  Perkembangan Perundingan Dan Menerima Maklumbalas Daripada Wakil –Wakil Tersebut.

5.        Sehingga Kerajaan Melaksanakan Tuntutan –Tuntutan Seperti   Diatas , Segala   Perundingan Susulan  Dengan  Amerika   Mengenai   US-Malaysia  Free Trade  Agreement  Hendaklah Ditangguh .  

Pada masa sekarang, memandangkan kurangnya ketelusan dan akauntabiliti dalam rundingan yang kini sedang berjalan dan kemungkinan besar hasil yang berat sebelah dalam rundingan FTA Amerika Syarikat-Malaysia, kami menggesa kerajaan supaya menghentikan dengan segera semua rundingan yang selanjutnya berhubung perkara ini. Sehingga Penilaian Kos-Faedah Komprehensif dilakukan, dan diumumkan kepada orang ramai dan dibuka untuk penelitian Parlimen dan orang ramai serta mendapat maklum balas dan mendapati memberikan manfaat kepada rakyat Malaysia, rundingan Malaysia –US FTA harus dihentikan dengan segera.  

Yang benar